April 24, 2014, at Kool Haus, over five hundred community and corporate leaders gathered to support at-risk children and youth at the 12th annual DAREarts Leadership Awards, raising a record $363,000. The Presenting Sponsor was Northbridge Insurance. Platinum Sponsors were Scotiabank and Guy Carpenter. Gold Sponsors were BMO Bank of Montreal, Noront Resources and TD Bank Group. Hosted by Jeanne Beker, the evening honoured DAREarts Cultural Award recipient Rick Mercer and six teens who charmed the audience with humour and heart.
Fabian Richenberger, President and CEO of Northbridge Insurance, presented the DAREarts Cultural Award to Rick Mercer following a witty PowerPoint presentation that pointed out how Northbridge manages the risks that people like Rick Mercer take on his show, “The Mercer Report.”
Rick Mercer congratulated his fellow honourees and spoke passionately about the arts and how they can save lives. “I only remember being bored by school. And I know now, as many of you do, that if you want to be successful you have to set the bar high and then you’ve got to aim to go over that bar.” He talked about how the school system, in his time, just pushed him forward even though he wasn’t ready. It made life very difficult for him and he lost interest in learning. Until grade ten. “In grade ten, the arts entered my life. For some reason, I walked down the hall, and I signed up for the drama club. Now, I don’t know why I signed up for the drama club, probably because back in those days there was no such thing as a gay – straight alliance – but it’s basically the same thing.” A teacher told him, “Rick you are terrible working back stage. I have another job for you. You’re gonna write the next play. I had never considered this. The reason you don’t do well back stage is that you never shut up. Shut up and write everything down.” He wrote, along with three other students, ‘The Twenty Minute Psychiatric Workout.’ “and for the first time in my life I was engaged. I was no longer bored.” That play went on to win the provincial play award. “It taught me for the first time in my life that it takes hard work to succeed. Because of that experience, me and another group of people who were involved in that show, we decided we were going to form a comedy troupe, it forced me to get life skills. I had to learn how to start an actual company. And a payroll. I learned how to promote a show. I had to learn to negotiate a deal.”
“The greatest examples of Leadership that I’ve seen in this country, they haven’t come from Parliament Hill, they come from young people in the most unlikely of places. Schools have tried to administer solutions, but quite often the real solutions come from the young people themselves. Young leaders. We need leadership like that in this country more than ever and that is why I am so proud to support DAREarts. I know that with DAREarts’ hard work we’ll have more and more leaders exactly like them.” Congratulations, Rick Mercer on your DAREarts Cultural Award.
Congratulations to the 2014 Leadership Award Recipients!
Luke Scollard was presented by Geoffrey Lubert of Guy Carpenter (photo by Tom Sandler) Katherine Welsh presented by Alan Convery of TD Bank Group (photo by Tom Sandler) Hamdi Ahmed presented by Yanzhi Chen of Scotiabank (photo by Tom Sandler) Marlo Mason presented by Bill Wu of BMO Bank of Montreal (photo by Tom Sandler) Caden Okeese presented by Kaitlin Ferris of Noront Resources (photo by Tom Sandler) Danielle Truong (received award earlier from Marilyn Field.) (photo by John C. Pennie) The inaugural Patina Prize was awarded to Leslie Spence, presented by Judy, Derek and Melanie Patina. (photo by Tom Sandler) The Headwaters Arts Award was presented to DAREarts grad, Ryan McIntee, Here with Wayne Baguley. (photo by Pete Paterson)
Volunteer Johanne Lefrancois-Deignan, chaired the event committee of volunteers. The décor for the theme of for Sea to Sea to Sea was created by designer, Sinclair Russell and Shooting Stars Productions generously made the vision a reality.
Live auction donors were: West Coast Expeditions, Fogo Island Inn, Painter, Cory Trepanier, Canoe North, Northbridge Insurance and Tom Atkins of Traymore Group.
Entertainment that set the ambiance was provided by musicians volunteering their artistic talents. Barry Canning, Nicole Strawbridge, dancers and drummers STOPP from North Albion Collegiate Institute and DJ Travis Wright. Dinner that everyone raved about was provided by Presidential Gourmet. Young emerging artists, Jacklyn Hancock, Emily Hawes, Ricky Schaede amd Cameron Courtney, provided graffiti art of DAREarts’ key values: Discipline, Actions Responsibility and Excellence.
This year was our most successful year ever, and we are already planning next year’s Leadership Award Gala. Check in our Leadership Page to see what develops!